Sixteen precious Byzantine-era icons were rescued from the war in Ukraine, and five of them are now on display at the Louvre Museum
From Wednesday, 5 exceptional Byzantine icons that were saved from the fires of war in Ukraine are on display at the Louvre museum. They are some of the most valuable works in the history of iconography, four icons actually come from the Monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai. The images were until May at the Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko Art Museum.
With the help of the International Alliance for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Conflict Areas, the treasures were transported to France under military escort via Poland and Germany.
According to the Louvre, the 16 works are the most symbolic and fragile exhibits of the Ukrainian museum. In October 2022 a rocket landed ten meters away from the Museum of Western and Eastern Art in Kyiv. But the collections had already been moved to secret locations after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, with the exception of the monumental paintings that cannot be moved.
Risks for the projects left in Kiev
The director of the Louvre, Laurence de Cag, said the treasures that remain there now face other threats, such as temperature changes from frequent power outages. The Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko Museum of Art preserves about 25 thousand ancient, Byzantine European and Asian works. This huge collection goes back to the Ukrainian businessman and artist Bogdan Khanenko and his wife Varvara.
The couple began collecting works during their honeymoon in Italy in 1874. Initially they wanted to amass a unique and rich collection for themselves, but with the long-term goal of making the works accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
The Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko Art Museum has survived the first and second world wars, and is now witnessing a third war. The 5 Byzantine icons are now on display at the Louvre, while the remaining works will remain in storage for scientific purposes, the museum announced.
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